The Certification Only - Option Program (CO-OP) is a graduate certificate designed for those individuals who have completed a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree and wish to become licensed K-8 teachers. The program allows one to complete training and coursework in an efficient timeline and become licensure eligible. Candidates gain valuable practical experience through structured and supervised practicums in elementary and middle school classroom environments. Completion of CO-OP leads to K-8 teacher licensure in the state of Alaska.
Upon completion of the certificate, students will have realized the Alaska Beginning Teacher Standards through the following:
- Philosophy and Approach (PA) : Describe personal research-based philosophy of education and apply it in the classroom with consistent teaching strategies and practices.
- Developmental Stages (DS) : Understand how students learn and develop and apply that knowledge to individuals and groups in classroom practice.
- Diverse Cultures and Needs (DCN) : Teach students with respect for their individual and cultural characteristics to promote learning and communication.
- Content Knowledge and Strategies (CKS) : Knows the teacher’s content areas and how to teach them using age appropriate strategies to develop student knowledge, skills, and understandings applicable to real world situations; this includes accurate information, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and use of technology.
- Assessment Guides Instruction (AGI) : Facilitates, monitors, and assesses student learning to inform students and families of progress and needs; encourages student self-assessment; uses individual and group performance to guide instruction (formative and summative assessment); and maintains accurate records.
- Positive Learning Environment (PLE) : Creates and maintains a positive learning environment that is physically, emotionally, and intellectually safe in which all students can learn, and are actively engaged, contributing members.
- Partnerships and Real-life Connections (PRC) :Works as a partner with parents, families, and the community.
- Professionalism, Ethics, and Growth (PEG): Participates in and contributes to the teaching profession, complies with standards, laws and Code of Ethics, and engages in continuous professional growth.
CO-OP admits students to the Fall semester only.
The general requirements for admission to graduate studies at APU are found in the Admissions section of the catalog. In addition, there are supplemental requirements for CO-OP as follows:
- Three letters of recommendation dated within the past twelve months
- Basic Competency Exam: applicants must take Praxis CASE (Core Academic Skills for Educators) or other state approved qualifying exam with scores at or above the Alaska requirements
- Content Preparation Audit of Undergraduate Coursework: applicants’ undergraduate transcripts will be evaluated to ensure ‘content preparation’ across fields of study in preparation for K-8 teaching
- Those candidates who satisfy the admissions requirements noted above, and who ultimately receive an offer for admission, will be required to provide authorization for a background check so as to allow participation in required coursework that involves close interaction with a vulnerable population (minors).
Students are adequately prepared for CO-OP entry if they have a bachelor’s degree in any field with liberal arts foundations. The program encourages students with a wide variety of undergraduate experiences to apply for admission. If, however, a student’s undergraduate transcript does not demonstrate coverage of the ‘content preparation’ requirements for K-8 teaching, the student may be admitted and required to take prerequisite courses or studies.
CO-OP Format and Program Delivery
CO-OP is designed to be completed in 3 semesters, across 1.5 years of enrollment, with students at full-time status.
CO-OP courses run in the Full Semester term, with three 3-day on-campus intensives, and weekly elearning sessions for each course between intensives. In the final semester of CO-OP, students are in a 9-credit Internship (student teaching), during which they cannot be employed elsewhere or taking other courses.